Wednesday, May 28, 2014

May In Full Bloom: The Scent of Love

Van Gogh's Garden in Bloom
Arles, c. 1888

You know that old expression,
 "The nose knows"?  

It turns out that is really true. 

"When you smell things, you remember emotions."

Take LOVE, for example.

Who wouldn't want to remember the exhilaration of early, or any for that matter, LOVE?

What does LOVE smell like?

It smells like May ...... 

A Mississippi/Arkansas Delta 
May in FULL BLOOM.  

Delta Bohemian Garden
with the famed Spitting Frog Fountain

The scents are intoxicating, heady.  

The promise for the upcoming,
 long, hot, barely unfolding summer reverberates in the sunshine. 
 Excitement can't help but
 course through your veins 
and cause your heart to leap 
at least just a little. 

The earth has warmed, the temperature is rising, and there is a cacophonous intermingling of delicious smells everywhere, a 'Flower Bomb' if you will.  

"Flower Bomb" is my au courant scent

You can lose yourself in the scent,
 get totally carried away 
by the love in the air.  

The scent of this time,
 of May in FULL BLOOM, 
the scent of LOVE, 
will always remain in your memory.... 

I don't design that many weddings,
 but this May I have been working 
on two Delta weddings, 
an elegant, gilded, streamlined, formal affair in Clarksdale, 
and an earthy, colorful, outdoorsy 
fete in Helena. 
Both weddings of course are laden with flowers and scents.......

My beautiful Clarksdale Delta bride 
chose a crisp, modern white and golden palette with lots of vibrant green
 for her wedding day. 

My longtime friend and right hand floral man Chris Morrow and bride Ashley Britt

Her memories of LOVE
 will be tied to the scents of 

Peonies (Bashful)
Roses (Happy Love, Beauty)
Tulip (Love, Fame)

My fresh and lovely Helena bride
has chosen a palette of what I like to call
classic French countryside,
orangey red, turquoise, and golden yellow
with touches of bridal white,
 raspberry pink and lavender.

Her memories of LOVE will be tied to the scents of

Roses (Happy Love)
Rosemary (Remembrance)
Sunflower (Pride and Appreciation)
Lavender (Serenity and Grace)

My wedding wasn't in May, but May holds many scent memories of those I love .....

The pungent smell of marigolds reminds me of my grandmother Nanny's house, 
for each May she planted them down the sides of her driveway. 
 I spent many fun hours playing in her big, sloping yard on Main Street 
or Darby Avenue in Lambert. 

In the Language of Flowers
Marigold means
"Despair and Grief".
I love the color for a wedding, but not the sentiment!

I think this marigold colored wedding looks so crisp.
I am betting Madge would love this.
It's her favorite color!

Nanny's yard was also home to a gloriously huge, May blooming Magnolia Grandiflora. 
 Susan and I spent hours playing under its ground hugging branches and 
loved its buds wrapped in greigey, 
velvet like outer leaves, 
its huge full blown flowers with their light, creamy, slightly citrus scent, 
 and it's pineapple like cones.  

Delta Bohemian Garden

Delta Bohemian Garden

Delta Bohemian Garden

Delta Bohemian Garden

A perfect bouquet for a Delta wedding:
Magnolia leaves with tulips and tallow berries

In The Language of Flowers
Magnolia Grandiflora means
"Dignity and Love of Nature".

The delicious, sweet smell of roses reminds me of my play yard on our farm on the Coldwater River in the Delta. 
 My Mother espaliered the first roses I ever remember on the play yard fence. 

Delta Bohemian Garden

And on one of my early Mother's Days,
in May of course, 
 we went out and cut red roses
 to wear to church. 
 I was a tiny bit sad that we had no white rose for Nanny to wear for long passed great-grandmother Mammie.
 To this day, red roses are one of
 my very favorite flowers.  

In the Language of Flowers,
roses mean
"Happy Love".

Another beautiful Helena Bride
and her bouquet of all white roses, Eskimo and Vendela.

The funny, earthy, acid smell of tomato vines reminds me of my Uncle Raymond and his many May plantings of tomatoes.
 His tomatoes are some of the most delicious I have ever eaten.  

Delta Bohemian Garden

I DO love this unusual scent!
Do you?

OK, this photo of a quintessential tomato sandwich.
white bread, vine ripened tomato, Hellman's Mayonnaise, salt and pepper,
is off topic, I admit, but foodies and tomatoholic that I and someone are,
I could not resist!

Is this wedding too tomatoey for you?

I LOVE to use the unexpected in wedding arrangements.
VOILA, ripe and green tomatoes!

Heavy and sensuous, 
the scent of gardenias 
is one of my favorites. 

Delta Bohemian Garden

One of the first perfumes 
I ever wore was Jungle Gardenia
 in junior high school for a
 Lausanne May Day celebration. 
I felt so grown up!

I still love all those Lausanne Ladies. 

A beautiful wedding gown called "Gardenia".

I can still smell the cut honeysuckle my Mother placed on my dresser 
my senior year in high school 
just before my May graduation.  

In the Language of Flowers,
honeysuckle means
"Bonds of Love".

I love the touch of Art Nouveau in the honeysuckle artwork
 on this wedding invitation
I could definitely use the leaves and honeysuckle as inspiration
in designing this wedding.

And when I smell fresh herbs, 
the memories of my first house in 
Charlotte, North Carolina,
 where the first May I lived there, 
 I planned, planted, and daily cared for my first herb garden.  

Rosemary means "Remembrance".
Delta Bohemian Garden

Basil means "Hatred".
Delta Bohemian Garden

John McKee's Mint
Mint means "Virtue".
Delta Bohemian Garden

Thyme means "Activity".
Delta Bohemian Garden

Sage means "Long Life, Esteem, Health"
Delta Bohemian Garden

Delta Bohemian Garden

I hostessed the main course of a fancy progressive dinner party alfresco
 in my herb and rose garden late that May.
 I was so proud. 
 Memories of all my Charlotte friends I love come flooding back. 

Peonies and fresh herbs for a scent-ual bouquet.

Earlier this May week, I rode out to
 Moon Lake with my dear friends
 Madge and Billy. 
 We shared this beautiful view of the lake and the totally intoxicating scent
 of mounds of glorious jasmine 
growing on the fence and dock. 

In "The Language of Flowers"
jasmine means
"Cheer and Grace"

Perhaps a lovely scent for a bride and a scent memory for her groom?
I have not tried this, but I want to.

Truly the scent of LOVE!

I am making new scent memories 
with those I love this May in
 Clarksdale, Helena, and their environs, where everything is indeed in 

And SOMEONE smells really good.....

I won't forget......

LOVE smells like May.  

May smells like LOVE. 

What is your favorite scent memory?

photo credits: Marilyn Trainor Storey, Pinterest, SOMEONE who smells good


Kudos to Billy Howell and
 his beautiful Bohemian Garden 
which delights the eyes and the nose.
For more on Billy, Madge and the
 Delta Bohemian

Monday, April 28, 2014

Baker Man: Sweet Delights Delivered

I have served Baker's mini cheesecakes at my studio
for several recent events, each time to rave reviews.

I love to present them sprinkled with berries.

As I'm sure I've already told you maybe more than once, Clarksdale is like home to me, although I have never really lived there. 

I was born in Clarksdale and lived in the neighboring Quitman County through Elementary School. 

My Mother, my Daddy, and my Grandmother Nanny were always taking us to Clarksdale for something or another, and it usually involved shopping of some sort. 

It might have been Powers for dresses, Woolworth's for sundries (and of course the candy counter), the Gift and Art Shop for decorative items (yes, I loved decor at age three), and as we got just a little older Charlie Connerly's for shoes. 

But one place we nearly always visited on every trip was Al's bakery on Delta Avenue. My sister Susan and I would get big iced and decorated gingerbread men. And we often argued about what hurt the gingerbread man least to eat first, 
the head or the arms and legs.  

On birthdays, it was always a white cake with white icing and icing roses in the current favorite color, except the year Susan had the circus cake, but that is another story for another day. 

Now I'm spending lots of my time on Delta Avenue in Clarksdale again,  
but alas beloved Al's Bakery is no more. 

But never fear, 
I have found the antidote
to my sweet tooth. 

There is a new Baker Man in town, 
long time Clarksdalian 
(who now lives in Batesville) and self-avowed sweet tooth himself, 
Baker Patton! 

Baker delivering to 233 Delta Avenue in Clarksdale.
Al's Bakery was just down the street when I was a child.

Baker is a cheesecake aficionado. 
He began making cheesecakes back in the 80's using a family recipe that his 
mother-in-law Rachel Grochau had learned from a Jewish friend of hers 
from years past in Memphis and 
had passed it down to her daughter. 

Some of the ingredients for a Baker Cheesecake

Baker admits that his 
early efforts weren't perfect. 
The cheesecakes would often crack.

 Once he had everything ready to pop in the oven in his spring form pan, but when he picked up the pan the whole thing fell apart,  ingredients flew everywhere. 

But Baker has long since perfected his cheesecake technique,
 and his business is growing. 

He has been known to make up to 10 in a day, as he did right before Christmas. 

 It takes him 20 or 30 minutes 
to mix up the cake.

Snickers Cheesecake Batter

The crust is ready!

and he bakes them
 for an hour and 30 minutes.

Baker has my Snickers and my
Godiva Chocolate Cheesecakes in the oven.

Of course the exact recipe and 
technique is a secret, but Baker does offer several tips if you want to bake your own cheesecake: 

* Use a good spring form pan
* Always spray the pan with Pam
* Make sure the very middle is cooked
* Be creative in designing and flavors

They are done, and NO cracks!

But really, why bother. 
Baker can pop right in on Delta Avenue 
or pretty much anywhere with a 
hand-made, hand-delivered 
Baker Man cheesecake. 

He has delivered cheesecakes to Jackson, and shipped them to as far as Seattle. He regularly delivers cheesecakes 
to the Como Steakhouse.  

Baker himself is a sweet delight of a man, baking cheesecakes to please others. 

He says, "I truly enjoy getting all the ingredients together for a cheesecake, knowing that the person who ordered it will be enjoying the cake soon.  Seeing the smile on their face when they taste it is a special thrill for me. That makes me smile!"

I have to say, 
I am very picky about cheesecakes. 
Baker's cheesecakes are truly perfect, neither too dense nor too airy and whipped. And the flavors are numerous and delicious. I'm pretty sure I've now tasted them all. 
 I'm definitely partial to the Godiva Chocolate and the Snickers, 

I was at my client's the other morning and she served
Baker's Godiva Chocolate Cheesecake
for our tea party.

but then again I love 
the blueberry and the plain too. 

The Blueberry Cheesecake
Baker makes the topping himself.

And of course the praline is to die for.  

The Como Steakhouse serves The Praline Cheesecake.

Baker's personal favorites are 
the plain and the Snickers.   

Baker is very happy with the Snickers Cheesecake he brought me.
It was delicious!

The Snickers Cheesecake

To order one of his 
truly fabulous cheesecakes,
contact Baker as shown below,
or feel free to get in touch with me!

Baker's Cheesecake flyer

Baker making those mini cheesecakes you saw in the first photo in this post.

Mother's Day is the perfect occasion for a Baker Man Cheesecake.

My Mother loves them!

For my Mother's 75th Birthday on April 22nd,
She requested Baker's Godiva Chocolate Cheesecake.
(No white cake with white icing this year!)

She is taking her first bite of one of his cheesecakes here.
She loves it!

And the Baker Man WILL deliver!


photo credits: Marilyn Trainor Storey, Baker Patton